You, dear foreign student, were born outside this social welfare paradise which you are about to enter through the golden academic gate. We shall not let you do this without an ongoing proof that you are not a lazy, no-good, abusive punk who wants to suck our limited resources dry. If you must come (sigh), come with money.
The thing is that these little (and big) extras require a lot of nerve, even more time and convey a bona fide scare or two because you always seem on the brink of being kicked out of the university or out of the country. Here is a list of some amazing an annoying discriminations German university bureaucracies generally support in order to give foreign students a fine taste of German 'welcome culture'.
- Expensive and time-consuming German language certificates (independent of how long you actually have lived in a German-speaking country).
- The extra costs that foreign students have to pay in order to enter German universities (the infamous Uni Assist etc.)
- Translating and notarizing diplomas, official documents, certificates and so forth from your home country in order to prove your credibility. There is an international portal to avoid this kind of expenditure, but that does not seem to matter: translations have to be delivered anyway.
- Requiring a visa that has to be renewed regularly. As soon as you deviate from the official study program, you may get into trouble.
- Requiring a bank account with a large sum of money on it that you can not use.
- Participating in compulsory, expensive, time-consuming language- and integration courses (again, this is independent from how long you have actually lived in Germany).
- Remaining available to the Foreigners' Registration Office, who keep track of your progress (and send you letters to leave the country if you don't - correction: if they think you don't, because the 'Prüfungsamt' is late again importing your grades).
Extra Requirements While Studying
- Working more on every level is a basic requirement when you are allowed to study here. You have to work more both as an academic (if you are a non-native speaker) and as a student worker in order to finance yourself. This is a common reality to many, since foreigner are most probably not legible to student loans like 'Bafög' - it is possible theoretically, of course, but the criteria are so specific that almost nobody actually meets them).
- keeping track of the possibilities and limitations of German labor legislation - you are probably not allowed to work more than a certain (insufficient) amount of time, so you'll be looking for gaps in the current legislation to make a living in legal or extralegal ways.
- Turning in essays on a fixed date together with everybody else (because that's only fair, right? Not quite, though).
- Convincing your fellow students that your imperfect German does not make you a stupid fuck-all, thus putting extra pressure on you to fit in neatly and to excel against all odds.
- Working more on your language in your writing than on your ideas, continuously pestering native speakers to correct your texts in order to avoid grades that are reflective of the level of your German skills, and not of your ideas.
- An ongoing interaction with the 'international office' of your university, which is filled with intercultural incompetent people who tend to scare the hell out of you: "nein, das geht nicht in Deutschland, wenn Sie das machen wollen, müssen wir Sie leider exmatrikulieren."